Bulgaria’s Obstacles to Democracy

Posted by bogomil on 28/05/09

Legislation by the Bulgarian Parliament raising a deposit for European Parliamentary candidates from 15,000 LEVA (€ 7500 approx) to 50,000 LEVA (€ 25,000 approx) came into force on the 3rd of April just in time for the EP election on 7th June.

This makes the deposit for candidates wishing to stand for the European Parliament elections the most expensive of any country in Europe.
“Democracy is expensive” stated the Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev to his countrymen on national television. “It is an attack on democracy” said Daniela Bozhinova of the ZELENITE (Green) Party“ and is a carefully timed obstacle to our standing in the EP elections.

We started the Party in May 2008 and registered it in the following December because we felt increasingly helpless to influence Bulgarian policies and fight corruption. The party started with a few hundred members, mainly young people, but now it has grown to 7,000 with more every day,” she declared.

The party has raised money in a way not typical of Bulgarian politics, selling T- shirts, pens, organising concerts and other small events, mainly in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

Enough money was raised to meet the 15,000 LEVA deposit but now there is little time to raise the larger amount required. “We are both sad and proud of what we have done and have still to do,”Daniela said in a resigned manner.

The party certainly has a mountain to climb. Not only is there an increased deposit to be met in the EP elections but also the registration of parties standing for national parliament has been made more difficult by changes in the law. Increased payments and more signatures of supporters are required.

Certain amendments of the law on the Election of People’s Representatives are currently being reviewed by the Constitutional Court but not the increased election deposits. Daniela’s ZELENITE party maintains a web site whose address is www.bulgariangreens.org , read it and weep for young Bulgaria trying to make their way in their country’s emerging democracy.

The official web site of the European parliament has not caught up when last we checked, they still had the EP candidate amount at 15,000 LEV.

 Peter Matthews

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